Butt Glue and Other Life Mysteries

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A judge once asked me what pageants have taught me. I answered quickly and honestly: “Well, I learned what butt glue is.” There was a pause, and the panel erupted in laughter. I won Interview.

For those who don’t know, “butt glue” is the Gorilla Glue of the human world. It ensures that everything is smoothly and carefully attached to you as you strut your stuff on stage. In Swimsuit, where butt glue is often mandatory, it is either rolled on or sprayed on to allow your bikini bottoms sit perfectly without riding up. In Evening Gown, it can help prevent a Super Bowl 2004 Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction. Popular brands include Bikini Bite, Jobst, and Cramer Firm Grip.

There are a lot of things people find ridiculous about pageantry, and as someone who was once so bewildered by all of this, I used to roll my eyes at the mention of the “sisterhood” that women gain from competing together. These women are not your friends. They are your competition. How can they walk off that stage as “sisters of the sash” – all bunnies and rainbows and warm and fuzzy feelings? I was not entirely correct. I think if you’re lucky, you’ll make some of your very best friends “backstage” (Holly and Kristen – love you, guys!), but I also believe that some women strategically isolate themselves from other competitors – ones they know they will likely meet again on another stage. Regardless of if you make friends or not, there’s no denying the sense of camaraderie you feel that weekend. Several psychological studies suggest that shared experiences bond strangers. I still remember my poor, eight-and-a-half-month pregnant pageant director sitting in a chair rolling on butt glue to an assembly line of Barbie doll contestants. This strange act may be one glue that keeps us together.